THE MONTESSORI APPROACH
"My vision of the future is no longer people taking exams and proceeding then on that certification . . . but of individuals passing from one stage of independence to a higher [one], by means of their own activity through their own effort of will, which constitutes the inner evolution of the individual." —Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence
Over one hundred years after the first Montessori classroom opened in the slums of Rome, Montessori programs continue to enjoy a degree of popularity in both the private and public sectors unmatched by any other specialized approach to education. Montessori schools can be found around the world in cities, urban ghettos, and suburbs alike.
The main goal of the Montessori approach is to contribute to the enhancement of life. It has evolved from observations of children from around the world, and addresses the needs of gifted children as well as special needs children for whom it was originally designed. It is an integrated, interdisciplinary, holistic system of education that evolved from the work of Dr. Maria Montessori, a visionary, who developed an approach to learning that, is capable of addressing many of today’s educational, environmental, and social concerns.
Dr. Maria Montessori, one of Italy’s first female physicians, was first and foremost a scientist who actively advocated social reform and world peace. Her observations and research lead her to the philosophical belief that the child has the ability to offer civilization the opportunity to revitalize itself.
She saw education as an aid to life that works best when it takes into consideration the developmental needs of the whole child. She advocated the use of scientific reasoning when seeking social reform and working towards world peace, emphasizing that, “It doesn’t suffocate the voice of the heart but augments it and supports it...” Her contributions in the field of education and work towards world peace earned her three Nobel Peace Prize nominations.
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